The Stew Project

Last time, I mentioned my new enthusiasm for pressure cooking, and it’s current tendency (despite the heat of summer) towards stews and casseroles. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds – one of the things that puts me off making hot food in the summer is the side effect of further heating the house with the oven or cook top being on for ages. It’s why we bought a rotisserie kit for the BBQ (I can recommend this to anyone by the way – killer roast chicken) and why I use the side burner on the barbie all the time.

I haven’t tried the pressure cooker on the barbie side burner yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Our first attempt with the pressure cooker was straight out of the selected recipes in the user manual. Turned out great. After that, obviously, it’s open season, but I do need to work out timings as I’m new to this pressurised malarky.

So I grabbed some lamb shanks, checked out the recommended timings for the nearest thing in the user manual (leg of lamb), threw that away, and guessed. I figured 20 minutes should do it, and as I wanted to add some aubergine halfway through, I settled on 10 minutes, add more veggies, and then another 10 minutes. Turned out to need nearly 30; I actually gave it 25 in total, but it could have been ever so slightly longer, I felt. The meat, though tender, didn’t quite have that falling-off-the-bone, gelatinous connective tissue quality I wanted. I’ve increased the timings below to account for this.


  • 750g lamb shanks (2 medium ones)
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 200 ml red wine (optional; I happened to have some kicking around in the fridge)
  • 1 large aubergine, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • sprig rosemary, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper
  • sufficient stock to cover the meat

IMG_6815Heat olive oil in the pressure cooker (lid off) and fry the shanks until browned. Add the chopped leeks and garlic, stir around for a few minutes until fragrant. Splash in the red wine, if using, and cook off for a minute or so. Add tomatoes, herbs, stock to just cover the meat and season with pepper.

IMG_6816Cover and pressurise to full (according to your cooker’s instructions. I tried so hard to get a shot of the scary jet of steam issuing forth from it as I depressurised, but to no avail:

steam Obviously if you’re not using a pressure cooker, shove in the oven for an hour and half or so on medium low). Cook for 20 minutes and release the pressure:

IMG_6822Add the chopped aubergine, re-pressurise and cook for a further 10 minutes.IMG_6824

I served it up with rice, and greens from the garden:



I’ve since used it to knock up a quick Thai (that could’ve come out better) of pork and aubergine in 20 minutes; it was pork mince and in no way needed a long, slow cook, but I couldn’t resist testing to see if I could get the full range out of the woody spices (cinnamon, star anise) – turns out, of course, that you can.


2 thoughts on “The Stew Project

  1. How strange I bought a pressure cooker recently myself – so thanks for this recipe looks v good. Pressure cookers were a big thing in the 70s especially on our house – I have memories of my mother rushing from the aga to the sink with this hissing monster frightened me to death as a child .

    • I made lamb mussaman curry in it last night actually; lamb shanks again, complete success. Apart from slightly overdoing the tamarind, but I rescued it with a tad more palm sugar. Will have to post the recipe for you!
      What was your mum doing rushing from the aga to the sink with the pressure cooker?
      So pleased you’re enjoying the posts and thanks for the feedback!

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